Double-blind, randomized sham controlled study of deep-TMS add-on treatment for negative symptoms and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia

Journal: Journal of Psychopharmacology 28(7):686-690 (2014)

Authors: L Rabany, L Deutsch, Y Levkovitz


Negative symptoms and cognitive deficits are considered core symptoms of schizophrenia, yet treatment for them remains inadequate. Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) is a novel technology that enables non-invasive stimulation of deep layers of the prefrontal cortex. Preliminary evidence suggests that dTMS could be effective in the treatment of negative symptoms and cognitivedeficits.


The current study is the firstdouble-blind, randomized sham-controlled study to examine the feasibility of dTMS add-on treatment for negative symptoms and cognitive deficits in schizophrenia.


Twenty daily H1 dTMStreatments (20Hz, 120% MT) were delivered, in a double-blind, randomized sham-controlled design (n=30). Extensive clinical and cognitive assessments were carried out throughout the study and for an additional one month follow-up period.


At the end of the treatment period, negative symptoms (as indicated by the Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms (SANS)) significantly reduced in the dTMS group (–7.7, p=0.0289), but not in the sham group (–1.9, p=0.6766). Differences between the groups were not statistically significant.


In conclusion, the current study did not find a difference between H1 deep-TMS and sham stimulation in the treatment of negative symptomsof schizophrenia. However, a significantreduction inSANS score was achieved in the active treatment group. To better examine the full potential of dTMS treatment for negative symptoms of schizophrenia a large-scale study is due.

Read full article